This year in many ways has been somewhat unexpectedly a poor year for sewin catches in most of the rivers in Wales. The conditions with plentiful rain in early June followed by a month of dry weather with clement nights should have led to some good sport but fish were scarce in most places and those present were not that interested in taking the fly. We have had rain from August onwards and the small sewin we would expect did not materialise in great numbers although very recently at the end of September some rivers report quite good runs of these fish – probably 6-8 weeks later than normal.

The Abercothi and Golden Grove fisheries are drawing towards the end of their season which according to the fishery managers have been average for sewin without the numbers of big fish which are usually to be found in the registers. The salmon fishing here has been poor with low catches.

Some other rivers in Wales have bucked the trend with the Clwyd having really good numbers of sewin this year and the Conwy also doing well with both salmon and sewin.

We always look forward with optimism towards the next year but in the meantime we have to await the final outcome of the deliberations of NRW as to new controls they are likely to impose upon fishing on our rivers. It seems that different rivers will have area distinct plans although it is very likely that bait fishing is likely to be curtailed in almost all rivers. Whether it is barbless hooks or a ban on treble hooks or catch and release only, we will have to await the outcome and how it affects individual rivers and anglers.

As for 2020, I do hope for an upturn following the last two years of poor fishing but the need to control slurry and predation will need to be addressed before we can expect our rivers to return to their former glory. The Towy, Dyfi and Conwy were (and still potentially are) some of the best rivers for sewin both in the UK and Europe and the hope is that they will return to their rightful place in the not too distant future.

I hope all that read this blog have a peaceful and enjoyable winter and for those that dress flies will be able to find a “special fly” whilst concocting at the vise. As for me I will again travel to Patagonia in February with some friends to entice some of the sea trout there – fish that originally came from the brown trout sourced in Loch Leven who have found a home very much to their liking!

Illtyd Griffiths

AAPGAI Master Fishing Instructor and Senior Assessor for trout, sea trout and salmon.